US open: Stocks edge into the blue, but just barely

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LONDON (ShareCast) - -Fed (Dudley) says global strains pose significant risk -Fed (Dudley) says Fed has done enough to protect US from Europe (Chicago Options: ^REURUSD - news) DJI (KOSDAQ: 065500.KQ - news) : -0.03% Nasdaq Comp.: 0.23% S&P 500 (SNP: ^GSPC - news) : 0,05% The main US equity benchmarks are now trading in a ´mixed fashion´ although they are higher than at the beginning of today´s session. That ahead of speeches expected from several more Federal Reserve policy-markers throughout the afternoon and evening. The above will allow investors to get a better idea of the thinking within the central bank following Bernanke´s speech yesterday afternoon and the 'risk-rally' which ensued. Also worth mentioning, Bloomberg is today calling attention to the fact that the S&P 500 is now trading 1.2 percentage points above strategists´ average target for 2012, of 1,400 points. Shares of education firm Apollo Group (NasdaqGS: APOL - news) are down sharply after remarks from one of its co-chief executive officers warning of volatile enrollment patterns. Bank of America (NYSE: IKJ - news) -Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER - news) has been downgraded by Robert Baird. MACROECONOMY The Conference Board´s consumer confidence index for the month of March has fallen to 70.2 points from 71.6 in February (revised from the preliminary reading of 70.8). The consensus estimate was for a reading of 70.0. However, the expectations component, which is the most important one, slipped. The Richmond Fed´s manufacturing index for the month of March has come in at 7 points (Consensus: 18). The Case-Shiller home price index for the 20 largest US cities fell 0.8% in January. OTHER MARKETS Front month West Texas crude futures are now rising by 0.54% to the $107.61/barrel mark in NYMEX trading. 10 year US Treasuries are gaining 11/32 dollars with yields at 2.21%. S&P 500 - Risers Masco Corp (NYSE: MAS - news) . (MAS) $14.34 +4.06% PulteGroup Inc (Munich: 90044.MU - news) . (PHM) $9.14 +3.98% J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP (Taiwan OTC: 4747.TWO - news) ) $37.38 +3.86% D. R. Horton Inc. (DHI) $15.96 +3.43% JDS Uniphase Corp (NasdaqGS: JDSU - news) . (JDSU) $14.80 +3.35% Micron Technology Inc (Dusseldorf: 951691.DU - news) . (MU) $8.52 +3.33% Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR) $22.13 +3.31% FMC Corp (NYSE: FMC - news) . (FMC) $104.43 +3.26% Lennar Corp. Class A (LEN) $27.20 +3.03% Sears Holdings Corp (NasdaqGS: SHLD - news) . (SHLD) $73.81 +2.84% S&P 500 - Fallers Apollo Group Inc. (APOL) $39.94 -7.55% Expedia Inc (NasdaqGS: EXPE - news) . (EXPE) $34.58 -2.43% Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) $14.88 -2.30% Rowan Companies Inc (NYSE: RDC - news) . (RDC) $32.62 -2.19% Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG) $32.13 -1.61% Schlumberger Ltd (NYSE: SLB - news) . (SLB) $71.25 -1.60% DeVry Inc. (DV) $35.19 -1.59% Nabors Industries Ltd. (NBR) $18.50 -1.49% Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE: LUV - news) . (LUV) $8.23 -1.44% Accenture Plc (ACN) $64.99 -1.37% Dow Jones I.A - Risers Pfizer Inc. (PFE) $22.67 +2.28% Cisco Systems Inc (NasdaqGS: CSCO - news) . (CSCO) $20.99 +0.72% Merck (Xetra: A0YD8Q - news) & Co. Inc. (MRK) $38.87 +0.54% Alcoa Inc (NYSE: AA - news) . (AA) $10.26 +0.39% AT&T Inc. (T) $31.89 +0.31% McDonald's Corp. (MCD) $97.25 +0.29% Johnson & Johnson (TLO: JNJ-U.TI - news) (JNJ) $65.33 +0.25% E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DD) $53.38 +0.24% Caterpillar Inc (NYSE: CAT - news) . (CAT) $108.84 +0.08% JP Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM) $46.20 +0.06% Dow Jones I.A - Fallers Bank of America Corp. (BAC) $9.84 -0.96% American Express Co. (AXP) $58.28 -0.65% Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) $39.12 -0.53% Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) $23.80 -0.40% Chevron Corp (NYSE: CVX - news) . (CVX) $107.45 -0.36% Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM - news) . (XOM) $86.72 -0.36% Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) $38.51 -0.31% Walt Disney Co. (DIS (SNP: ^DISY - news) ) $44.25 -0.29% Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) $61.09 -0.18% Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) $67.35 -0.16% Nasdaq 100 (Nasdaq: ^NDX - news) - Risers Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) $73.81 +2.84% Logitech International S.A. (LOGI) $7.89 +1.94% Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) $17.31 +1.82% Baidu Inc (NasdaqGS: BIDU - news) . (BIDU) $153.16 +1.56% Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) $39.51 +1.48% Amazon.Com Inc. (AMZN) $205.40 +1.25% Biogen Idec Inc (NasdaqGS: BIIB - news) . (BIIB) $127.34 +1.22% Apple Inc (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) . (AAPL) $614.13 +1.18% First Solar Inc (NasdaqGS: FSLR - news) . (FSLR) $26.71 +1.10% Sandisk Corp (NasdaqGS: SNDK - news) . (SNDK) $50.97 +0.89% Nasdaq 100 - Fallers Apollo Group Inc. (APOL) $39.94 -7.55% Expedia Inc. (EXPE) $34.58 -2.43% Qiagen N.V. (QGEN) $15.46 -1.40% Seagate Technology Plc (STX (KSE: 011810.KS - news) ) $27.64 -0.93% Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (MRVL) $15.73 -0.88% Cerner Corp (Dusseldorf: CRE.DU - news) . (CERN) $77.45 -0.87% Illumina Inc. (ILMN) $50.27 -0.83% Garmin Ltd (NasdaqGS: GRMN - news) . (GRMN) $47.41 -0.77% Citrix Systems Inc. (CTXS) $79.90 -0.75% Autodesk Inc (NasdaqGS: ADSK - news) . (ADSK) $42.06 -0.73% AB